We reported earlier today that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was in full pads and at practice on Sunday.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, once the media left the practice field, Gronk also left.
Gronkowski’s presence on the practice field for the start of the New England Patriots’ full-pads workout Sunday was easily the story of the day for the team. It signifies another step in Gronkowski’s recovery from multiple surgeries on his left forearm and one surgery on his back this offseason, as this was his first time in a full-pads practice.
Gronk suiting up for practice was a good sign, but he likely won’t return to game action until after week three.
Now, if Gronkowski’s recovery were measured by the length of a football field, he’d have just about entered the red zone.
The expectation is that he won’t be ready for the Sept. 8 opener against the Bills, or for the quick turnaround against the Jets on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Then it lines up this way:
Sept. 22: vs. Buccaneers
Sept. 29: at Falcons
Oct. 6: at Bengals
Oct. 13: vs. Saints
Sometime within that range looks like the sweet spot for when Gronkowski might be ready to deliver one of his “boom” touchdown spikes. The Patriots almost certainly would have placed him on the reserve/physically unable to perform list if that were not a realistic expectation.
His presence at the start of Sunday’s practice reinforced that thought.